A wave of Government exits, including Cabinet resignations, are threatening to end Boris Johnson’s time in No 10.
Rishi Sunak and Sajid Javid resigned immediately after the Prime Minister apologised for giving former deputy chief whip Chris Pincher a top job despite knowledge of a previous complaint made against him.
A cascade of more junior Tory figures also tendered resignations on Tuesday and made public statements about their decisions, claiming the Government is incompetent and untrustworthy.
Rishi Sunak, former chancellor: competent government is ‘worth fighting for’
Mr Sunak said “the public rightly expect government to be conducted properly, competently and seriously”, adding: “I believe these standards are worth fighting for and that is why I am resigning.”
“I recognise this may be my last ministerial job, but I believe these standards are worth fighting for and that is why I am resigning,” he said.
“Our country is facing immense challenges. We both want a low-tax, high-growth economy, and world class public services, but this can only be responsibly delivered if we are prepared to work hard, make sacrifices and take difficult decisions.
“I firmly believe the public are ready to hear that truth. Our people know that if something is too good to be true then it’s not true. They need to know that whilst there is a path to a better future, it is not an easy one.
“In preparation for our proposed joint speech on the economy next week, it has become clear to me that our approaches are fundamentally too different.”
The public rightly expect government to be conducted properly, competently and seriously.
I recognise this may be my last ministerial job, but I believe these standards are worth fighting for and that is why I am resigning.
My letter to the Prime Minister below. pic.twitter.com/vZ1APB1ik1
— Rishi Sunak (@RishiSunak) July 5, 2022
Sajid Javid, former health secretary: Mr Johnson’s administration is not ‘acting in the national interest’
Mr Javid said the British people “expect integrity from their government” but voters now believed Mr Johnson’s administration was neither competent nor “acting in the national interest”.
“Conservatives at their best are seen as hard-headed decision-makers, guided by strong values. We may not have always been popular, but we have been competent in acting in the national interest,” he said.
“Sadly, in the current circumstances, the public are concluding that we are now neither. The vote of confidence last month showed that a large number of our colleagues agree. It was a moment for humility, grip and new direction.
“I regret to say, however, that it is clear to me that this situation will not change under your leadership – and you have therefore lost my confidence too.”
I have spoken to the Prime Minister to tender my resignation as Secretary of State for Health & Social Care.
It has been an enormous privilege to serve in this role, but I regret that I can no longer continue in good conscience. pic.twitter.com/d5RBFGPqXp
— Sajid Javid (@sajidjavid) July 5, 2022
Lord David Frost, former Brexit secretary: Quit before you bring the Government down
Lord David Frost called on Boris Johnson to quit as Prime Minister before he takes the Conservative Party and the Government “down with him”.
Lord Frost wrote in The Daily Telegraph that Mr Johnson’s place in history will be secure as “one of the past century’s most consequential prime ministers”.
“If he leaves now, before chaos descends, that reputation is what will be remembered. If he hangs on, he risks taking the party and the Government down with him,” the former Cabinet minister said.
Alex Chalk, former solicitor general: Government duty cannot extend to ‘defending the indefensible’
Mr Chalk wrote that government posts mean accepting “the duty for difficult or even unpopular policy decisions where that serves the broader national interest”.
But, he added, “it cannot extend to defending the indefensible”.
“The cumulative effect of the Owen Paterson debacle, Partygate and now the handling of the former deputy chief whip’s resignation, is that public confidence in the ability of Number 10 to uphold the standards of candour expected of a British government has irretrievable broken down.
“I regret that I share that judgement. This comes at a moment of intense challenge for our country, when trust in government can rarely have been more important.
“I’m afraid the time has therefore come for fresh leadership.”
With great sadness I am resigning as Solicitor General. I won’t be doing media interviews. pic.twitter.com/8kr9ecRECg
— Alex Chalk (@AlexChalkChelt) July 5, 2022
Theo Clarke, former trade envoy to Kenya: As a new female MP, I no longer have confidence in Johnson’s leadership
Ms Clarke said she had supported Mr Johnson since campaigning in both of his mayoral campaigns, but no longer had confidence in his leadership.
“As one of the Party’s new female MPs and a member of the Women and Equalities Select Committee, I take allegations of sexual misconduct very seriously.
“To learn that you chose to elevate a colleague to a position of pastoral care for MPs, whilst in full knowledge of his own wrongdoing, shows a severe lack of judgement and care for your Parliamentary party.
“I was shocked to see colleagues defending the Government with assurances that have turned out to be false.
“This is not the way that any responsible Government should act.”
I am very sad to be resigning as the Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Kenya with immediate effect👇 pic.twitter.com/rBKSdbMCQ7
— Theo Clarke MP (@theodoraclarke) July 5, 2022
Andrew Murrison, former trade envoy to Morocco: I cannot square Mr Johnson’s patronage with my personal sense of decency and honour
Another envoy, Andrew Murrison, said the “last straw in the rolling chaos of the past six months” was “the unjustifiable implication of Lord McDonald’s letter to the Parliamentary Committee for Standards this morning”.
“Others must square, as best they can, their continuing enjoyment of your patronage with their personal sense of decency, honour and integrity but I no longer can,” he added.
“I strongly urge you to resign.”
Jonathan Gullis, former Parliamentary private secretary to the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland: Tory Party has been focused on reputational damage over governing
The private secretary to the Secretary for Northern Ireland wrote that the party he had been a member of his “entire adult life” had “been more focused on dealing with out reputation damage rather than delivering for the people of this country and spreading opportunity for all”.
“It is for this reason I can no longer to (sic) serve as part of your government.”
Saqib Bhatti, former parliamentary private secretary to the Health Secretary: ‘My conscience will not allow me to continue to support this administration’Saqib Bhatti quit his role with a statement that “recent events have undermined trust and standards in public life”.
“I have been grappling with these issues for some time and my conscience will not allow me to continue to support this administration,” he added.
The Conservative party has always been the party of integrity and honour but recent events have undermined trust and standards in public life. It is for this reason that sadly, I must resign.
I will continue working hard for my constituents on the issues that matter to them. pic.twitter.com/oHZzPO285o
— Saqib Bhatti MP (@bhatti_saqib) July 5, 2022
Nicola Richards, former Parliamentary private secretary to the Department for Transport: At a time of cost-of-living crisis I cannot serve where the focus is ‘skewed by poor judgement’
Nicola Richards said in a statement that she could not serve “under the current circumstances”.
“At a time where my constituents are worried about the cost of living and I am ding my best to support them, I cannot bring myself to serve as a PPS under the current circumstances, where the focus is skewed by poor judgement that I don’t wish to be associated with.”
I will always remain loyal to my constituents and the Conservative Party. Tonight I’ve made the tough decision to resign as a PPS. pic.twitter.com/XrM8IrzreJ
— Nicola Richards MP (@Nicola4WBE) July 5, 2022
Virginia Crosbie, former parliamentary private secretary at the Welsh Office: Johnson’s continued premiership risks ‘irrevocably harming this government’
Virginia Crosbie wrote that she was “forced to say the sheer number of allegations of impropriety and illegality” centred around Downing Street and Mr Johnson’s premiership made his position untenable.
“I am of the view that if you continue in office then you risk irrevocably harming this government, and the Conservative party and will hand the keys of Downing Street to a Labour Party unfit to govern.”
Bim Afolami, former conservative party vice chair: The PM does not have the support of party or country
Speaking to Talk TV, Bim Afolami announced said: “I just don’t think the Prime Minister any longer has, not just my support, but he doesn’t have, I don’t think, the support of the party, or indeed the country any more.”